Your eyes

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Tue 17 Mar 2015 00:56

Something that I haven't seen being brought up is about the importance of good eye sight when sailing along the globes wet surface.. 
When sailing, our eyes go from looking narrowly at a plotter or chart to finding the buoy in the distance.
Most people that can and do sail on long journeys have come to an age when their arms are getting to short.
So what can we do to improve our vision  even in bad weather?
The adults on Salsa use contact lenses most of the time. Ellinor being short sighted has used them since she was 15.
I started using lenses a year before taking off as I thought it would make life easier.
It sure does. Since Im at an age were you usually start by being long sighted I decided to go for a reading lens on one eye only.
You can actually try it yourself by covering one eye at the time and you will realize the brain is most probably wired to work preferably on
one eye when looking at short distance and the other on long.
So the change to use one reading lens took maybe a week or so. But when I needed to help the eyes to see better on long distance I started with
a lens for that on the other eye. The brain adapts easily after a while.
Sunglasses are a must in the tropics and sea, and polarizing glasses are the best for safety. Not only when we go through passages with coral reefs but also when Im 
paddling, the polarizing glass is amazing to see through water.
On a long passage we tend to sleep and be on watch 24/7, wearing contact lenses can be a burden since they start to itch after a few round of ups and downs without taking them out.
So I usually use my reading glasses at night and sunglasses with bifocals during the day. I save the lenses for real bad weather or approaching a new coast.
The sunglasses with bifocals are great (Rudy Project) if it wasn't that they corrode on some parts. You would think that when you buy expensive wear meant for sports, ocean included that they 
would take the environment... Not even their logo can stand the salty air.
I any case, their case is great, smart design to keep different colors of protection glass etc. For instance I use their non colored glass as eye protection when I do something dangerous for the eyes (drilling etc).

To be able to see at sea you have binoculars of course, and they should not be magnifying too much, the waves will make it impossible to find and keep the object of observation (unless you have stabilizers).
We have Steiner 7X50 on board, considered the best with built in compass, even with a plotter the compass is great to confirm the angle of observation. But believe it or not the Steiner could not take more than 2 years at sea before the compass gave up... So now we keep an extra  compass for angle observations....
To see at night is of course great and you can help that by using red lights and red headlamps. Make sure you buy one that starts with red and then moves on to white if you need it.
The one we found that was absolutely the best design was Silva, but is lasted only 6 months at sea. We bought another one and that one made it for about 4 months.
Now we only buy cheap headlamps and live with the bad design and believe it or not they seem to last, still working...


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